Laboratory of Neurobiology

We study neurobiological basis of behavior with the emphasis on acoustic communication in birds. We use songbirds as a model as they are able to learn and imitate sounds. They possess a well described, discrete and specialized brain circuits controlling song learning and production. Although song is undoubtedly much simpler than the human language, they share many behavioral, genetic, anatomical, and neural parallels. LN3
Recently, the laboratory of neurobiology focuses mostly on two topics of research. The first one is related to identification and finding the function of brain vocal nuclei. Although the brain circuits controlling the song are known, their exact function has been still studied. Our results point to the existence of a new brain area involved in song control and its role for vocal learning/production is unknown. The second topic of our interest is the functional significance and mechanisms of neurogenesis in the adult brain. We study mechanisms involved in brain repair after its injury, factors affecting cell proliferation and their incorporation into brain areas, and the function of the newborn neurons for behavioral plasticity.
We use a multidisciplinary approach that combines behavioral (analyses of sound parameters, preferences for listening to a certain song type), anatomical (tract tracing, brain surgeries, pharmacological manipulation of brain areas), and molecular biology techniques (immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization). Important is the integration of the non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging method that enables repeated brain measurements in the same individual.



Mgr. Ľubica Niederová-Kubíková, PhD.
Mgr. Kristína Lukáčová, PhD.
Mgr. Justína Polomová – PhD. student
RNDr. Boris Bilčík, PhD.
RNDr. Ľubor Košťál, CSc.
Mgr. Eva Pavuková, PhD. (maternity leave)
Vladimír Géci
Bc. Jana Plaskoňová – MSc. student
Bc. Viktória Mikulášková – MSc. student


2012 – Mgr. Eva Bosíková (Pavuková), PhD. – PhD. student
2016 – Mgr. Kristína Lukáčová, PhD. – PhD. student

2010 – Mgr. Kvetoslava Smolíková – Bc. a MSc. student
2011 – Mgr. Andrea Berényiová– Bc. a MSc. student
2015 – Mgr. Dušan Gdovin – Bc. a MSc. student
2017 – Mgr. Justína Polomová – MSc. student
2018 – Mgr. Katarína Ambrušová – Bc. a MSc. student

2012 – Tereza Vargová – high school final exam project


Dr. Erich D. Jarvis, Duke University, USA
Dr. Svatava Kašparová and Dr. Ladislav Bačiak, Slovak Technical University, Slovakia
Dr. Annemie van der Linden, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Dr. Katharina Riebel, Leiden University, The Netherlands


Selected publications

Polomova J, Lukacova K, Bilcik B, Kubikova L. (2019) Is neurogenesis in two songbird species related to their song sequence variability? Proc. R. Soc. B 286: 20182872.
Hamaide J., De Groof G., Van Ruijssevelt L., Lukacova K., Van Audekerke J., Verhoye M, Van der Linden A. (2018)Volumetric development of the zebra finch brain throughout the first 200 days of post-hatch life traced by in vivo MRI. Neuroimage 183: 227-238
Hamaide J., Lukacova K., Van Audekerke J., Verhoye M, Kubikova L., Van der Linden A. (2018) Neuroplasticity in the cerebello-thalamo-basal ganglia pathway: A longitudinal in vivo MRI study in male songbirds. Neuroimage 181: 190-202
Lukacova, K., Baciak, L., Pavukova, E., Pichova, K., Kasparova, S., Kubikova, L. (2017) Imaging of striatal injury in a songbird brain. General Physiology and Biophysics 36 (1): 23-29
Lukacova, K., Pavukova, E., Kostal, L., Bilcik, B., Kubikova, L. (2016) Dopamine D3 receptors modulate the rate of neuronal recovery, cell recruitment in Area X, and song tempo after neurotoxic damage in songbirds. Neuroscience 331: 158-68
Kubikova, L., Bosikova, E., Cvikova, M., Lukacova, K., Scharff, C., Jarvis, E.D. (2014) Basal ganglia function, stuttering, sequencing, and repair in adult songbirds. Sci. Rep. 4, 6590; DOI:10.1038/srep06590.
Jarvis ED, Yu J, Rivas MV, Horita H, Feenders G, Whitney O, Jarvis SC, Jarvis ER, Kubikova L, Puck AE, Siang-Bakshi C, Martin S, McElroy M, Hara E, Howard J, Pfenning A, Mouritsen H, Chen CC, Wada K (2013) Global View of the Functional Molecular Organization of the Avian Cerebrum: Mirror Images and Functional Columns. J Comp Neurol 521(16): 3614-65.
Bosíková, E., Košťál, Ľ., Cviková, M., Bilčík, B., Niederová-Kubíková, Ľ. (2012) Song-related dopamine receptor regulation in Area X of zebra finch male. General Physiology and Biophysics 31: 291-298
Bosikova, E., Kostal, L., and Kubikova, L. (2010) Birdsong: from behavior to brain. Biologia 65/3: 379-387
Kubikova L., Wada, K., Jarvis, E.D. (2010) Dopamine receptors in a songbird brain. Journal of Comparative Neurology 518(6): 741-69
Kubikova L. and Kostal, L. (2010) Dopaminergic system in birdsong learning and maintenance. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 39(2): 112-23
Kubikova L., Vyboh, P., and Kostal, L. (2009) Kinetics and pharmacology of the D1- and D2-like dopamine receptors in Japanese quail. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, 29: 961-970
Hara E., Kubikova L., Hessler N.A., and Jarvis E.D. (2009) Assessing visual requirements for social context-dependent activation of the songbird song system. Proceedings of the Royal Society Biological Sciences, 276: 279-286
Hara E., Kubikova L., Hessler N.A., and Jarvis E.D. (2007) Role of the midbrain dopaminergic system in modulation of vocal brain activation by social context. European Journal of Neuroscience, 25: 3406-3416
Kubikova L., Turner E.A., Jarvis E.D. (2007) The pallial basal ganglia pathway modulates the behaviorally driven gene expression of the motor pathway. European Journal of Neuroscience, 25(7), 2145-60
Jarvis ED, Gunturkun O, Bruce L, Csillag A, Karten H, Kuenzel W, Medina L, Paxinos G, Perkel DJ, Shimizu T, Striedter G, Wild JM, Ball GF, Dugas-Ford J, Durand SE, Hough GE, Husband S, Kubikova L, Lee DW, Mello CV, Powers A, Siang C, Smulders TV, Wada K, White SA, Yamamoto K, Yu J, Reiner A, Butler AB; Avian Brain Nomenclature Consortium. (2005) Avian brains and a new understanding of vertebrate brain evolution. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 6(2), 151-159
Reiner A., Perkel D.J., Bruce L.L., Butler A.B., Csillag A., Kuenzel W., Medina L., Paxinos G., Shimizu T., Striedter G., Wild M., Ball G.F., Durand S., Güntürkün O., Lee D.W., Mello C.V., Powers A., White S.A:, Hough G., Kubikova L., Smulders T.V., Wada K., Dugas-Ford J., Husband S., Yamamoto K., Yu J., Siang C., and Jarvis E.D. (2004) Revised Nomenclature for Avian Telencephalon and Some Related Brinstem Nuclei. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 473(3), 377-414